[ExI] evolution and the supernatural

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Mon Feb 24 05:12:19 UTC 2020

John Clark <johnkclark at gmail.com> wrote:

> First of all Evolution can't make perfect brains or perfect anything, nor
does it need to, it just needs for an animal to be better than the

Correct.  But It's worth keeping in mind that not all psychological
characterizations such as the ability to be infested with a
supernatural belief are directly selected.  If you want a widespread
and rather harmful example, consider drug addiction.  If you think
about it there is no logical way for addiction to be a result of
selection.  Lying under a bush wasted on plant sap is not the best way
for your genes to get into the next generation.  (Addiction is a side
effect of brain reward systems that evolved for other reasons.)

I have written fairly extensively about the ability to be infested
with religions being a side effect.  I make the case that what was
strongly selected is the psychological mechanisms that lead to wars.
Part of that complex is the ability to believe the tribe you are
getting ready to attack is made up of degraded demons.  When there is
a need for a war (resource limits) such memes spread well.  Turning up
the "gain" on xenophobic memes is part of the psychological complex
that has been selected for war.)

And there has been heavy selection for the psychological traits for
war.  Check out what Azar Gat and Steven A. LeBlanc have to say on the


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